Ask Design Mom — Having Another Child

November 23, 2009



Ask-Design-Mom-Questions:

I have a strong yearning for another child and am looking for an infallible way to decide whether to take the plunge (just joking, I know it’s a leap of faith, but am looking for advice from people who might know about these things).
What factors would do you take into consideration upon deciding whether to have another child? Thanks for taking the time to answer. — Sarah

Hi Gabrielle. I would like to have a big family as well. I’m married almost 2 years and we are looking to start our family in a year or so. A few questions: How far apart are your children in age? Did you plan to have so many children? Did you plan to have them x amount of years apart? Thanks. — Venessa

Design Mom Answer: These are such worthy questions. Thank you for sending them, Sarah and Venessa. The answer to how many kids you should have and how they should be spaced is, of course, super personal. And everyone reading has a different opinion and answer.

I’ll share what my basic plan was. And hopefully readers will let you know how they’ve come to their family-size decisions as well. I need to make very clear: this was our plan. I’m not advocating it to anyone else. Period.

When I married at 21, I talked with Ben Blair about a basic plan. We both came from big families and wanted lots of kids. I wanted to be done bearing children by 35 — the age many risks increase. (Edit: apparently 35-as-riskier is a bit of a myth — but I didn’t know that at 21.) So I thought: let’s have our 1st at 23 (when we’re done with school) and then have one every other year at 25, 27, 29, 31. And if we want more, we can have #6 at 33 and #7 at 35. Done and done.

How it really happened: we had our first at 23, our 2nd at 24, our 3rd at 27, our 4th at 30 and 5th at 31. Number 6 is due when I’m 35.

Basically, as soon as we made the plan we discovered we had no control over the plan. Very few of us are lucky enough to conceive or adopt exactly when and where we want to. And very few of us have such an ordered life and are wise enough that the plans we make at 21 still make sense at 31.

Bottom line: feel free to make a plan, but get really comfortable with the idea that the plan might not work. Some people (including me) find praying helps them feel settled about the decisions they make for their family. Others depend on counsel from friends and loved ones. Ultimately, I hope you’ll feel confident that you can know what’s best for your family.

Dear Readers, how about you? How many kids do you want to have? Are you done? How do you decide when to add more children to your families?

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How many kids is right for me? | | Becoming youBecoming you
November 11, 2011 at 11:02 am

{ 121 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eva November 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I stumbled upon this and am fascinated by everyone’s reply. I am now 56 years old and these stories bumped me back to my early twenties as we were contemplating all this. I had my first when I was 21, as planned, was nursing him and feeling VERY tired. Found out I got pregnant with #2 and didn’t know it until I was 4 months along. Was devastated b/c I was so sick with #1. Didn’t get sick once, delivered #2 when #1 was 14 months. I then went on to wait 3 years in between the
next two, then 6 years went by and had #5. B/c #1 and #2 were so close, I never ever had whiny kids. They entertained each other. I never had bored kids hanging on my legs wanting me to do something with them. They also learned all the important life lessons because we were poor and had to share and we couldn’t afford two cars. All five have turned out to be Wonderful adults. The oldest two have 3 master’s degrees between them. The third is in med school. The fourth is working on a second college degree and the fifth is in her Senior year in college. They love getting together. Everywhere we went was an adventure, even though the fighting drove me crazy. They grew out of it. One of my sons loved coming from a large family so much that he and his wife have 7. They PLANNED on six, but #6 turned out to be twin boys. They are such a joy to me. I wish families would go back to they were like in the 50′s when I was young and have 8 – 10 children. You would have no “entitlement” attitude and they’d be smarter from all the problem-solving. Just a rant from a 56 year old. Thanks

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2 Molly W. November 30, 2011 at 8:03 am

I always thought I would have 3 kids, then I had 1. I had a pretty rough pregnancy (to say the least) and my baby arrived 2 months early. Due to insurance, etc… we’ve not had another. Now my daughter is 5 and I’m at a place where starting over doesn’t seem like something I want to do. Also we still have the same insurance issues (ie no one will ensure me for a pregnancy due to all my trouble w/ my last one) so I really feel like the choice to have another has been taken out of my hands. Thankfully God is so good and I am happy with where we’re at.

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3 Auntie#1 January 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm

31, almost 32 and single…I want to be married and have lots of babies but that has yet to happen…I’m confident that, as many have mentioned, Our Heavenly Father has a perfect plan of happiness for each of us! Children truly are ‘an heritage of the Lord!’. As I hope for, wait for, and do my par; I trust in the Lord. I have the awesome opportunity to develop talents, be the best aunt to my nieces and nephews, and enjoy my career as a school teacher-teaching kiddoes now for ten years! Life is Good!

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4 Auntie#1 January 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Do my ‘part’ that is…not ‘par’

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5 Taylor May 16, 2012 at 8:31 pm

How can I talk to my husband about having another child? we have one already and planned on waiting a few years for the second. i was more then fine with that until i had a miscarriage a few months back. I didn’t realize how bad i wanted a second one until it was gone. now every time i bring up, or even mention having another one, he completely flips out and gets really pissed off. it’s not like we can’t afford it, and we have great health care, how can i even talk to him about this with out getting him so mad?

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6 Elena October 30, 2012 at 3:56 am

I am sorry your husband is reacting like that. Whst do you think it is triggering that reaction? Is he affraid for your health?
Getting mad about something could be a indicator of fear, something he cant control and scares him, It is easier for us ladies to speak up about our thoughts and feelings, but some guys have hard time acknowledging or elaborating what they feel…

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7 Heather Craw February 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I wonder all the time whether to have one more child. I love the three I have so dearly, wouldn’t just one more make our family that much happier? The problem is, I’m 35. Actually, the real problem may be that my husband is 39.

The scientific community used to think only the woman’s age really mattered since her eggs have been with her since birth, but men continue to produce sperm throughout their lives. Unfortunately, it turns out more and more trisomies and “soft birth defects”, problems like schizophrenia, depression and possibly autism that don’t manifest until childhood or early adulthood, are being linked to paternal age. As a woman of faith, I believe in a plan, but I also believe that statistical probability is no respecter of faith.

I’ve tried to hash out my personal struggle with the question of having another baby on my blog a number of times. Sometimes I wonder if the two miscarriages I had are the same little person who wants to be part of our family. Sometimes I think no matter how many children I ended up having, I will always wonder if I should have had one more.

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8 kalle April 24, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Loved reading everyone’s “plans”, very sweet and comforting to know what other women have gone through. I am just wondering though, please tell me how you can afford having more than 1-2 children? After we both got degrees, we are still paying off loans and paying a lot in rent for a rather small but expensive house. I”m in Canada, and would sincerely like to hear how finances played a part in deciding to have children. I am yearning for babies, but it looks like I may have to be through adoption….perhaps living expenses or maybe salaries are higher in the US? Thanks much love from a sad and curious girl…

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9 kalle April 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I just read Eva’s comment above, and it makes me very wistful… would really appreciate any advice, especially from older mom’s (I am late thirties, had one miscarriage and am feeling rather desperate, husband isn’t really helping….??)

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10 Heidi January 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Hi, I know that this is an old post but since I am feeling totally exhausted today and just not got the Christmas decorations away, I thought I would write and tell everyone that I still don’t regret having 5 children. We had them quickly, because we married at 30. 5 children in 7 years is busy, but doable. I don’t regret it for a second.

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